Public Service and Administration Minister, Ms Noxolo Kiviet, clarified that the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) does not have the legal mandate to conduct investigations.

This statement was made in response to questions raised in the National Assembly regarding the wrongful payments made to public servants who fraudulently received Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grants.

Minister Kiviet emphasized that the DPSA did not initiate an investigation to determine whether these wrongful payments were part of a scheme to defraud the state. As investigations fall outside the jurisdiction of the DPSA, they are not empowered to carry out such inquiries.

The first question posed to the Minister concerned the progress made in implementing consequence management for the 5,812 public servants who fraudulently received SRD grants, as well as the additional 33,833 public servants who fraudulently obtained other social grants.

Minister Kiviet explained that in September 2022, the Chief Executive Officer of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), Ms BJ Memela, sent letters to both national and provincial government departments informing them of the identification of the 5,812 public servants in the Covid-19 SRD database. The letters requested that the respective departments take appropriate action regarding consequence management.

The departments to which Ms Memela addressed the letters include the Department of Basic Education, Department of Employment and Labour, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Department of Social Development, Deed Office, South African Police Service, and Department of Correctional Services.

Regarding the 33,833 public servants who fraudulently received other social grants, Minister Kiviet stated that the necessary information is yet to be obtained from the Fraud and Compliance department of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).

“It is important to note that while the DPSA does not possess the authority to conduct investigations, the responsibility for addressing consequence management lies with the relevant departments and the South African Social Security Agency,” she said.